Chicago Cubs: Five ways that things could be worse

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Chicago Cubs: At least we’re not blowing games at full strength

We don’t have our closer. Brandon Morrow was signed by the Cubs the last offseason to be the man in the 9th inning. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen him a ton in the past year plus with the team. Due to injury, Morrow has been unable to perform his closer duties on a regular basis- something the bullpen was able to overcome last year due to huge years from guys like Steve Cishek and Pedro Strop (who just may be the best Cubs’ reliever since Lee Smith).

If the Cubs were losing games at full strength, it would be much tougher to swallow. The truth is, we’re missing an elite power arm in the bullpen who would be shortening many of these games. While Morrow wouldn’t be used in the seventh or eighth inning (the innings where we’ve been giving games away most often), his presence would bump everyone into a different spot, meaning Strop would have been pitching in a few of the games where we blew leads. Not saying Strop couldn’t have given some games away (he did uncork a wild pitch to lose one, but that outing is a total outlier for him), but I’d feel a heckuva lot better handing the ball over to him after seven innings knowing that Morrow is right behind to close things out.

Many fans have been clamoring for the team to go out and sign Craig Kimbrel, which isn’t a terrible idea given the struggles of the pen (many were calling for his signing before the season anyhow), but just the notion that we think one guy will fix a lot means that things aren’t that bad in Wrigleyville. That being said, I do think either Kimbrel or Adam Ottavino would have been a smart move in the offseason.